Thursday, October 22, 2009

Elmer Valo...Czech Patriot?

That's right. Elmer Valo (and here) was not only the kind of nail-eating OF valued by the folks in these parts, but he was originally from the town of Rybnik, in the present-day Czech Republic. He came to the U.S. at age 6 and went back Europe to fight against the Nazis and help liberate Eastern Europe in 1943. Daddy D gave me this 1956 classic, which shows Elmer slamming into a wall, one of his greatest talents.

I don't know if there was any intended humor with the pink elephant on the back there, but I've been in the presence of a few pink elephants in my day, and the image of Elmer carrying one in the pennant race struck me as pretty funny. Well, after I had regained my senses from having first recoiled in horror and suspecting that I had come unglued again, but that's a completely different can of beans.

Elmer also has this 2007 Topps Distinguished Service Cards (no idea from what set, etc.), which is also courtesy of Daddy D.
The crazy thing is that, unless that back is just poorly worded, Elmer began WWII fighting with Allied Forces in Eastern Europe, which I take to mean Czech insurgents or something. Pretty awesome.
I mean, that's the guy you want as your pinch hitting expert and designated wall-crasher: the guy who spent part of WWII fighting the Nazis as an insurgent. Might be the only ball player from the era not intimidated by Bob Feller.

Have a great one!


  1. It certainly doesn't diminish Valo's accomplishments to note that the elephant was the A's "mascot" in those days. There's even a nice write-up about it a site memorializing the team itself.

  2. The Distinguished Service card is an insert from the Topps flagship set.

    I have that '56 Valo card, too. It's one of my favorite cards from the set -- no particular reason. But after reading your post, I have a reason now.

  3. Topps had the right city, but the wrong team on Elmer's 1956 card:

    For the reasons you've listed (and several more), he was one of my Dad's favorites growing up.